Experimental composer and synthesist Keith Fullerton Whitman posted a new video to his Vimeo account this weekend, live patching a piece composed on his Eurorack system. Whitman is a well known artist, whose minimalist leanings are on display here, as he pours over each iteration of the patch to emphasize the raw power of the sounds produced.
The first 90 seconds or so consist of the very basics of the patch, an important glimpse into the foundations of this piece. Whitman begins by crafting gorgeous droning chords with 3 STO oscillators and the Toppobrillo Quantimator, which can build triad chords as well as arpeggiate them when triggered (as we hear later in the piece once the Xaoc Batumi is routed into the patch).
Whitman demonstrates some of the important elements of any live performance patch here. While one musical result emerges from the initial patch, he quickly flows into another feeling altogether while maintaining the original signal routing. By focusing on controls that have a major effect on the qualities of the sound produced, the artist can flow from one compositional form to another in seamless fashion.
One topic we explore in our Live Modular Techniques course is improvised, live patching in a performance setting, which is a bit more nerve racking than recording in the studio. However class assignments include recording your patches using video and audio, to add pressure to the process and get into the practice of sharing your work. As we see with these works by Whitman, sharing our work via video allows the viewer to connect to what is happening musically, even if they cannot follow the more complex patching.
What elements do you focus when live patching? Let us know in the comments!